hyp·​no·​sis | \hip-ˈnō-səs \
plural hypnoses\hip-​ˈnō-​ˌsēz \

Definition of hypnosis 

1 : a trancelike state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject

2 : any of various conditions that resemble sleep

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Synonyms for hypnosis


hypnotism, mesmerism

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Examples of hypnosis in a Sentence

He underwent hypnosis to treat his fear of water. While under hypnosis, she described the horrific accident in detail.

Recent Examples on the Web

People respond to hypnosis to varying degrees and different ways, but most people for whom the procedure works experience a sense of calm and relaxation. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Keira Knightley Used Hypnosis to Help Deal With Stress Early in Her Career," 5 Oct. 2018 The song had all the potential to become a surefire hit, from JC’s come-hither vocals to the snakecharmer hypnosis of the production. Bianca Gracie, Billboard, "In Defense of JC Chasez, *NSYNC's Underappreciated Boy Band Frontman," 24 Apr. 2018 There was even a time when people worried about highway hypnosis, the tendency for smooth, uninterrupted freeways to lull drivers to their doom. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Driving Without a Smartphone," 10 July 2018 Melissa Errico stars as the hypnosis-seeking Daisy with Stephen Bogardus as the doctor who prefers her past life to her present one. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "11 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 21 June 2018 Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger says hypnosis is used by trained professionals in only a few cases. Fox News, "Texas death row inmates push for forensic hypnosis ban," 14 May 2018 Kurczewski thought hypnosis could help get a clear story out of Teri. jsonline.com, "CHAPTER 5: THE GIRL IN THE CAFÉ," 27 Sep. 2017 The most worrisome of all to Orloff are apps offering help for people experiencing suicide ideation or seeking anxiety release hypnosis. Ken Alltucker, Alex Connor And Jayne O'donnell, USA TODAY, "Mobile therapy apps: With suicide rates on the rise, can text chats rescue those on the edge?," 15 June 2018 More recently, Sirhan's lawyers have explored whether he was hypnotized to begin shooting his gun when given a certain cue, even hiring a renowned expert in hypnosis from Harvard to meet with Sirhan. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn't believe it was Sirhan Sirhan," 27 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hypnosis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hypnosis

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hypnosis

New Latin

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Statistics for hypnosis

Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for hypnosis

The first known use of hypnosis was in 1876

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More Definitions for hypnosis



English Language Learners Definition of hypnosis

: a state that resembles sleep but in which you can hear and respond to questions or suggestions


hyp·​no·​sis | \hip-ˈnō-səs \

Kids Definition of hypnosis

: a state which resembles sleep but is produced by a person who can then make suggestions to which the person in this state can respond


hyp·​no·​sis | \hip-ˈnō-səs \
plural hypnoses\-​ˌsēz \

Medical Definition of hypnosis 

1 : a trancelike state of altered consciousness that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject

2 : any of various conditions that resemble sleep

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More from Merriam-Webster on hypnosis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hypnosis

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hypnosis

Spanish Central: Translation of hypnosis

Nglish: Translation of hypnosis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hypnosis

Comments on hypnosis

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a nest or breeding place

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